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The Celtics Played A Good 24 Minutes Of Basketball, Sadly That Was Not Enough To Beat The Warriors

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On the surface, this was a complete ass kicking. The better team won last night without a doubt, but as I sit here and write this blog, I feel OK. I know in a game you get down by 30, there isn’t much positive spin, but this wasn’t your normal 30 point lead. The Celtics had one extremely pathetic quarter, and that was a wrap. The first 24 minutes? They were right there, and it was the game we all expected. This same sort of thing happened when they lost to CLE, the urge is to overreact and point out how far away this team is. Well no shit they are far away, that’s not news. I know it’s also easy to point out the no Horford and Crowder issues, but guess what. The reason they lost this game had nothing to do with not having those players. The Celtics problems last night were self inflicted, not really because of roster issues.

In order to beat the Warriors, especially these Warriors, you need to play perfect basketball. They provide slim to no chance for error. What we saw in this game is when the exact opposite of that happens. That third quarter is getting it’s own section so I won’t dive into it too much here, but that quarter summed everything up perfectly with these two teams. What I saw is that when this team doesn’t shoot itself in its own foot, they can hang. When they are careless, they can’t beat anyone, especially GS.

I think it’s safe to say that heading into halftime, every Celtics fan was feeling confident. They stayed within striking distance, and actually were playing pretty good defense. Sure maybe you were cautious of that third quarter, but nobody expected THAT performance. That’s what I found interesting last night and today so far. I can understand the frustration with such a terrible quarter, resulting in such a ridiculous lead, but one quarter doesn’t take away from some of the good we saw in the first half.

Again I just want to make myself clear. This was an extremely frustrating performance for a wide variety reasons. For a team that prides itself on not quitting, they quit. Above all else that’s what bothers me the most. Not that we lost to GS, but because of how we lost. I think it’s fair to be angry with how they played, but also be able to step back and realize it’s not the end of the world, and really doesn’t change much.

Let’s get started

The Good

– If he is going to continue to put up this sort of effort, I will do my part to make sure it gets the recognition it deserves. ANOTHER 17/10 for Avery Bradley, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to declare this rebounding thing is not a fluke. Now we talked yesterday about the fact that the Warriors are basically the worst rebounding team in the league, so take it with a grain of salt, but still. This is getting crazy and continues to show how underrated Avery is. Imagine if Klay Thompson or DeMar DeRozen was doing this, it would be huge news. The season Avery is having continues to fit his trend, he’s getting better every year.

Here’s a crazy stat: Avery had 9 defensive rebounds in 34 minutes. Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk, the starting frontcourt, had 3 defensive rebounds in a combined 33 minutes. Can your SG really lead your team in rebounding for an entire season? Has that happened before? What Avery Bradley is doing is historic, and remember he’s just 25.

– As is becoming a trend, his Tacoma Twin wasn’t so bad either. You wouldn’t know it because the Celtics lost, and anytime they lose its time to pile on Isaiah, but he wasn’t terrible, in fact, he had a lot of positives in this game. I want to start with what people consider his biggest weakness, his defense.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you he’s an All NBA defender, but he defended his ass off last night on Steph Curry, and the numbers reflect it. Curry was 2-17 from the floor while Isaiah was on the court, and if people want to point out the times when he struggles, it needs to be recognized when he doesn’t.

What Isaiah did well was stay with Curry, even through screens. A master at getting separation, give Isaiah credit for standing his ground. He did shit like this a few times

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All you can really ask when defending Curry is to somewhat stay in his air space and that’s what Isaiah did. Yes the Celtics got blown out, but it was not because of Isaiah’s defense.

In fact, it was Curry who struggled to contain Isaiah on multiple occasions

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I also loved what we heard from Isaiah postgame. He was pissed, and he was right. Him only playing 27 minutes was the white flag that this team usually never waves. Especially since they cut it down to around 16 late in the fourth quarter, who knows what happens if you leave him in there and let him get hot earlier. For me comments like this

don’t bother me in the slightest. It didn’t bother me when Jae Crowder called out Brad last year, and I have no problem with this here. Isaiah is a competitor that’s what makes him so good, and I know they play again tonight which probably factored into this decision, but I think it’s a good thing when your best player wants to be on the court. I’m old fashioned like that though.

– Much of Rozier’s production last night but he did have a couple big plays while the game was still competitive. The three he hit to end the first quarter was a perfect example. The Celtics clawed their way back into the game towards the end of that quarter, and Rozier’s development behind the arc is one thing that Turner never could do. Rozier also had this beautiful heads up play

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What I liked about Terry’s night was that he showed his true athleticism. Rozier was aggressive, and while at times out of control, the way he attacked the basket is a positive sign. That’s the type of mentality he is going to need to have for this second unit moving forward. Again, most of it came during a time when nobody on GS tried, but 11/7/5 is nothing to complain about.

– Same thing with Jaylen Brown. A lot of what he did came at a time when the game didn’t matter, but he had a pretty decent showing as well in his 23 minutes (+8). Jaylen hit a couple threes which was good to see, and more importantly his form continues to look pretty good. Highlight of his night was something that we all expected once he was drafted, and that was making plays in transition

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The Bad

– We should have seen this coming the way the Celtics were turning the ball over in the first quarter. I’m not sure what made the Celts think they could be so careless with the ball, and try such lazy passes against such a superior team. Five early turnovers allowed the Warriors to get off to a good start and really turnovers would be the story of the night. Avery had 3, Marcus and Amir had 2 a piece, and then once things went over to the second unit, they weren’t much better.

– I cannot stand Zaza Pachulia. What a goon type player. The problem was that goon had 7 rebounds in the first 6 minutes for a team that can’t rebound. That’s not good. Then after scoring his 4th point he pulled off this bullshit

This is why people don’t like the Warriors. They cry and complain as much as any team in the league, then go off and do this. I get it, at the time the Warriors were up 28 but what are you doing? You were not the reason they were up 28, and you made a 15 ft jump shot. Big fucking deal.Then to hear him say he wasn’t trying to be disrespectful is just insulting. Had someone done this against the Warriors in GS, we’d never hear the end of it.

– That tech on Jaylen Brown for an “unnatural move” on his end of first quarter three was high comedy. For starters he didn’t even kick his leg out. Then you factor in who they are playing, then you factor in Steph Curry did the exact same play on a top of the key three, and didn’t get a tech. Garbage call.

– Speaking of garbage calls, the refs were NOT why the Celtics lost. In fact they were called for more fouls than the Celts, and the Celtics took more FTs. Where they were bad was with stuff like this. This is 100% a travel. Clear as day.

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That’s bad.

– I can understand why Brad did it, but he gave Gerald Green too much rope. In 16 minutes he took 11 shots and made just two of them. He did get robbed on some non-calls, but overall guys like Durant and Klay abused him. If you want to talk about not having Jae Crowder, this is maybe where I would give you some credit.

– I said it in the Isaiah section, but I hate that this team put up the white flag. That isn’t who this team is, and it’s a little weird to try and convince them to play hard for a full 48 minutes only to then give up on them. Remember, this group came back from 26 against MIA. SAC came back from 26 and made it a one possession game against the Clippers last night. The point is, in the NBA, shit can happen. Taking the starters out so early is mailing it in.

And I get it, the back to backs are something you have to keep in mind, and also I agree with taking your players out if they don’t deserve to be on the floor, but I would have life to see the starters have a chance to dig themselves out of the hole.

– We went back to getting absolutely nothing from our starting frontcourt. Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk may as well not have even played. They didn’t rebound, they didn’t defend the paint, and Olynyk missed every shot he took. The points in the paint battle was a bloodbath (44-28), and they Celtics lost the battle on the glass as well (50-43). When you factor in the fast break scoring as well, this is an effort thing more than anything else.

– Yup, the Theory hit again. It’s starting to pick up steam and it honestly is truly remarkable. It’s great when the Theory wins you a game, but it’s just as cruel when it gives you that L. Fuck this thing.

– If you booed Kevin Durant because he didn’t come to Boston. I find that ridiculous. It’s a fine line, because as a fan you should be able to boo an opposing played on a hated team. That I’m fine with, but if your reasoning was because he turned Boston down, you need to grow up. I don’t think it scares away FAs like Draymond said but it isnt the best look. He made a basketball decision that anybody with a brain would make. He was never going to come to Boston, I don’t care what Wyc says. To boo him because he didn’t choose your team is just being butthurt.

The Ugly

– Which brings us to that third quarter. The Celtics started the game scoring 27 points on 50% shooting. Those who pay attention knew this was a recipe for a bad third quarter, but holy shit. Here is how the Celtics started:

With 11:11 to go in the quarter Klay Thompson made a three to make it 58-48. From this point on they went on to make 10 consecutive shots. During this same time period, the Celtics missed five shots and turned the ball over five times. The next time GS missed was with 5:01 left in the quarter and the sore was 79-51. That means they went almost an entire half a quarter without missing a shot, while during the same timeframe the Celtics couldn’t make a shot, or stop turning it over. That is where the game obviously was lost. That one six minute stretch.

Once it started happening it was like an avalanche, and the game was over in the blind of an eye. The Celtics scored 9 points on 11% shooting. That has to be historically bad. That one ugly six minute stretch changed the narrative of the entire game, and of this Celtics team, which is unfair, but reality. The came out flat in a huge game, at home, against an opponent they played pretty even in the first 24 minutes. It’s unfortunate that a 48 minute game can be decided by a stretch like this, but this is what happens when you don’t come to play for every second against the Warriors, they will murder you.

– The one part of the criticism of the Celtics so far this season that I agree with, is their identity is simply not there. I don’t know what we are seeing, but things are off. Obviously this was not the team we had in mind when the season started, but I want to be careful to put everything on not having Jae and Horford. They are not NBA saviors. While they 100% make an impact and are important pieces to this puzzle, it doesn’t excuse the effort and execution problems of the guys that are playing.

Big picture, whatever. This loss sucks not because the Celtics are a better team than the Warriors, but because for the first time in a while, they didn’t have the best showing. A game that started with promise, was thrown away, literally. That’s the frustrating part. I don’t think this means that the Celtics are suddenly cooked in the East or anything like that. Even being the second best team in the conference doesn’t suddenly put them in the conversation with CLE/GS or teams like that. Games agains elite teams like this are mostly for a measuring stick, and what we know is that if this team plays like shit, and doesn’t have all its bullets, they can’t beat the Warriors. Who didn’t know that already?

So we turn the page to tonight in Detroit. This is now the 3rd back to back on the road in their first 12 games which seems kind of crazy. The good news is Detroit also played last night, so at least they are dealing with the same thing. As of right now the Celtics are just 2 games behind Toronto for the division lead (who by the way didn’t beat GS or CLE either) as they are fresh into a 5 game road trip. This season is still VERY early, and while there are problems that need to be fixed, and valid areas of concern, lets not have one bad 6 minute stretch against what is probably the best team in the NBA right now make you completely give up on this team. That would be silly. With games against Detroit, Minnesota, and Brooklyn on deck, things will be OK.

This was a shitty loss, digest it, and move on.

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